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UK In August — 9.75% Electric Vehicle Market Share, More Than 2× August 2019

The UK saw 9.75% plugin electric vehicle market share in August 2020, up from 4.4% in August 2019. Year to date plugin share now stands at 8.2%. The overall auto market was down 5.8% compared to a year ago, at just over 87,000 units.

The UK saw 9.75% plugin electric vehicle market share in August 2020, up from 4.4% in August 2019. Year to date plugin share now stands at 8.2%. The overall auto market was down 5.8% compared to a year ago, at just over 87,000 units.

The 9.75% August result was weighted strongly in favour of full battery electric vehicles (BEVs) over plug in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs), with market shares of 6.4% and 3.3% respectively. This was quite a significant change in weighing from the cumulative year-to-date shares of 4.9% BEV versus 3.3% PHEV.

The UK auto industry body, the SMMT, doesn’t report individual model results in its monthly general summaries. However, we can get a sense of the UK’s favoured plugin models in the first half of 2020 (i.e., not yet including July or August sales), from the European Alternative Fuels Observatory:

We can see that the Tesla Model 3, Nissan LEAF, MG ZS EV, Jaguar I-Pace, and Renault Zoe were the most popular BEVs, all selling over 2000 units in the first half of the year. The BMW 330e and the Mitsubishi Outlander were highest selling PHEVs.

The MG ZS EV deserves a shout out for grabbing the 3rd place spot for BEVs in its first full year of availability — a great achievement.

MG ZS EV. Image courtesy MG

Notably, the Tesla Model 3 was by far the most popular UK plugin in the first half of the year, outselling the next 4 BEVs combined. Let’s see if September will bring another strong end-of-quarter performance for the Tesla.

Tesla Model 3. Image © Max Holland / CleanTechnica

Of course the above model data chart — only covering bestsellers up to the end of June — is scarcely “up to date” in the fast moving world of electric vehicles. Case in point — the Volkswagen ID.3 has just started arriving in the UK for customer deliveries. It will be interesting to see what volume the newcomer can achieve in its first month.

The Polestar 2 has also recently started arriving, appearing as a brand with 26 sales in August (likely almost all the Polestar 2) in the SMMT’s general data. Its volume will significantly increase over the coming few months.

The UK now stands at a cumulative 8.2% plugin electric vehicle market share for 2020 year to date. Just like other large European markets of France and Germany, with ever more new plugin models arriving, I think the UK could stretch to reach to 10%  share this year, but it will require record results in the 4 months ahead.

Do you think 10% share is still possible for the UK this year? Please share your thoughts in the comments.


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Max is an anthropologist, social theorist and international political economist, trying to ask questions and encourage critical thinking about social and environmental justice, sustainability and the human condition. He has lived and worked in Europe and Asia, and is currently based in Barcelona. Find Max's book on social theory, follow Max on twitter @Dr_Maximilian and at, or contact him via LinkedIn.


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